National monitoring system

Each year, we collect information from local authorities on their implementation of the RMA through the National monitoring system. This information is used to improve policy and practice at the national and local level.

About the National Monitoring System

Why we have a National Monitoring System

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is the main piece of legislation guiding the management of New Zealand’s environment. Most of the everyday decision-making under the Act is delegated to local authorities (ie, territorial authorities and regional councils). 

Each year, we collect information from local authorities on their implementation of the RMA through the National Monitoring System (NMS). This information is used to improve policy and practice at the national and local level. 

Implementation of the National Monitoring system

The NMS is an annual process where we request information on various aspects of councils’ processes under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). We request information from New Zealand’s 78 local government councils relating to:

  • each resource consent application
  • each planning process
  • every enforcement action
  • budget and management, including engagement with iwi and hapū
  • other functions related to duties under the RMA 

We derive high-level statistics from the information including:

  • total counts
  • average costs
  • percent completion.

We publish the statistics in a summary report and online dashboard. The details we request from each council are the same year to year. However some items may change as our information requirements change or we refine our processes. 

We have compiled a version of this information as national datasets for each financial year since 2014/15.

How National Monitoring System data is used

NMS data is used to:

  • inform the development of resource management policy and practice by national and local government 
  • confirm local authorities are fulfilling their roles and responsibilities under the RMA
  • promote examples of RMA implementation best practice 
  • measure the success of RMA reforms
  • test common perceptions of the performance of the RMA system.

The NMS built upon and replaced the biennial RMA Survey of Local Authorities, which ran from 1996/97 to 2012/13. 

For more detailed information on the NMS, including the general structure and content, read the discussion document from when the NMS was proposed.

National Monitoring System for the Resource Management Act 1991 – A proposal for discussion

Key statistics of council implementation of the RMA

The new NMS dashboard offers key trends and insights on council performance under the RMA. Users can easily filter data by year and council, providing flexibility to explore specific performance metrics.

Patterns in Resource Management Act implementation: National Monitoring System data 2014/15 to 2022/23

This report highlights patterns in councils' implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991 over the past seven years. It identifies patterns in RMA implementation, which may be used to inform the development of policy or practice. This report has been released in addition to the 2022/23 dataset, to provide an easily understood picture for the wider community.

Key patterns from 2022/23

Report 2022/23

  • There was a decrease in the number of new resource consents processed by councils.
  • Most councils processed fewer than 1,000 new resource consents.
  • Councils continued to grant over 99 per cent of all new applications.
  • Councils increased the use of section 92 (Further information requests) and decreased the use of section 37 (Power of waiver and extension of time limits).
  • The proportion of new resource consents being notified remained below 2.5 per cent.
  • The median processing time for new resource consents increased from 46 working days to 57 working days.
  • Councils employed their highest number of full-time equivalent staff for resource management.

Previous reports

Read the 2021/22 report

Read the 2020/21 report

Read the 2019/20 report

Read the 2018/19 report

Complete datasets: Council implementation of the Resource Management Act

Download the complete data for 2014/15 to 2021/22 on council implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991. The data is from the National Monitoring System.

Our data service

Access MfE Data Service

Consolidated data on key NMS topics are now available on our Data Service. These CSV files contain information from 2014/15 to 2022/23 to enable technical users to conduct in-depth analysis over the years.

Data councils need to provide for the National Monitoring System

Data councils are required to provide on their implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991.

We ask local authorities to populate the NMS Excel template for 2023/24 (see below) and email it to us at by the submission due date of 31 August 2024.

The guidance document explains how to populate the Excel template. 

If you have any questions email or phone 022 517 3280.

Information requirements and Excel template


NMS data for 2023/24 should be submitted by 31 August 2024.


NMS data for 2024/25 should be submitted by 31 August 2025.

Previous information requirements 

Resource Consents Explorer: Council implementation of the Resource Management Act

Access and explore data on resource consent applications processed by councils from 2014/15 to 2021/22. 

Launch the Resource consents explorer

We have discontinued updates for this product. Please refer to the new dashboard for trends and insights. If you cannot find the specific information you need, please to contact us directly at